Thursday, April 27, 2006

Name Games

It seems that a Senate investigation has found that FEMA is completely beyond repair. The only way to correct the disastrous performance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency is to junk it completely, and start from scratch – build a brand new agency to do the same job. They’ve determined a new name for it – National Preparedness and Response Authority. And just to make it totally clear that this is a new a different agency, they’ll put it under the authority of the Department of Homeland Defense – oh, no, wait, that’s not the different part, FEMA fell under Homeland Defense. What was that new part? Oh, yes! The new agency boss will be authorized to report directly to the President in crisis situations, bypassing the Secretary of Homeland Defense. Cutting out that step should dramatically speed response time and eliminate the problems of communicating the urgent nature of a disaster.

But where are they going to get the employees to staff this new agency? With experience and training in handling natural disasters and terrorist incidents? Not to mention the administrators, mid-level managers, clerks, janitors, receptionists, and so on. Well, rather conveniently, it seems that a great number of current government employees are about to be let go. Since they’re mostly union members, they will need to be given equivalent positions somewhere within government service. It should work out very well – odds are pretty good the employees won’t even have to change desks…since they’re “transferring over” from FEMA.

While I suspect that for the most part this name change will result in little more than changing the stationery and business cards, it may actually prove beneficial. After all, the most senior leadership of FEMA will not be able to transfer over to NPRA, lest that expose the nature of the “rebuilding.” And changing the leadership may indeed result in changing the organization. I think we could save a lot of money by leaving the sign outside the building alone, though, and just firing everyone on the top floor.

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